Wish list for Paignton Zoo's animals

Mandril
(Last Updated On: August 24, 2014)

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Paignton Zoo has started an online wish list of gifts – for the animals.

It includes sprinklers to help cool the rhinos on a hot day, rubber balls and a bubble machine for monkeys to play with and aromatherapy oils for tigers to sniff.

The Zoo is a UK leader in environmental enrichment, the science of giving animals things to stimulate them mentally and physically. Now, keepers have compiled a list of items for the Amazon web site so that the public can buy gifts for their favourite animals.

Senior Head Keeper of Mammals, Matthew Webb, explained: “Put simply, and without the science, enrichment means keeping animals happy and active. With this new list people can buy exactly what they want for their favourite zoo animals, just like they do for their pets.

“In hot weather we could really use some of the moulds to make ice balls or the garden sprinklers to give animals a cooling shower. This Amazon wish list is very easy to use – people can take a look before Christmas or find out when an animal’s birthday is and buy them a special treat. It’s a great way to donate to our charity and give directly to the animals.”

Larger primates, rhinos, tigers and zebras all enjoy the garden sprinklers, while it’s primates who would mainly benefit from the ice balls. Hoof stock and big cats will play with balls while scents are good for almost all species.

The list even features a popcorn machine – surely this is for the keepers? Matt: “No! We can use that to give the primates a healthy treat they have to forage for. No butter, no toffee!”

The list can be found at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/wishlist/20B5RE35GD036/ref=sr_1_1_acs_wl_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406895019&sr=8-1-acs

There are also some less exciting but equally important items, such as karabiners, ropes and pulleys to hang enrichment items safely. Environmental enrichment aims to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, stimulate mental and physical activity and provoke curiosity using unusual objects and situations. It can range from puzzle feeders and wind chimes to unusual scents and cardboard boxes with food hidden inside. Paignton Zoo has won awards for its enrichment work and hosted both regional and international conferences on the subject.

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.

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Team account for We Are South Devon.